A right of passage involving a bathing suit and a loaf of bread. Otherwise known as junior high.

I believe I have mentioned that I’m writing a book. And if you want to try something hard and confusing, then this is it. So it’s kind of like my life, which is good, because that is what my book is about. My life. Or at least a little section of my life right before we had kids.

Anyway, last night when I was writing, I came across a dusty and water-colored memory that I wanted to share with you. Because it makes no sense to me, in part because it has both dust and water on it, which usually makes mud.

I was thinking about junior high. Yes. This, too, is a bad idea. And I was drinking vodka, which in spite of being a clear alcohol, never really makes anything more clear. But on with the story.

In physical education in junior high, we used to have swimming class once every so often. It was not on a regularly scheduled day, at least not that I could tell, so that added an element of surprise to the whole thing — sort of like Sacha Baron Cohen dropping from the ceiling onto your head.  And the girls in the class were not allowed to swim if we were having our period. And we were all issued a bathing suit by the school. It was like a school uniform in that it was navy blue, but it was not like a school uniform in that it was a bathing suit.

So, on this one sacred and powerful day of the month, I went to swimming class where we lined up in front of a desk to check in and get a suit. And since I was in possession of menstrual blood, I was not allowed in the pool and had been instructed to tell the teacher that I was “off floor.” This term was code for “standing around in the pool area in a bathing suit wearing a huge sanitary napkin that feels like a loaf of bread between your legs hoping that a velociraptor will show up and start eating people so at least a few people would forget about your sanitary napkin.”

junior high bathing suit + period = public humilitation

And really this story has no point, except that I was completely traumatized, and I thought someone should know about this tragedy. And because it didn’t fit in the book in any way. At least not yet. And most important of all, why is it called OFF FLOOR? What does that mean? I was on the floor by the pool. I remember it well. It was made of those tiny waterproof tiles that are all over including on the walls and in the pool. Why couldn’t they just call it “out of the pool?” Or “unavailable.” She’s unavailable, wink, nod, check out the loaf of bread. And why did I have to wear a bathing suit, if I wasn’t going to swim? And seriously, who would let their child these days wear a bathing suit that was owned by the school? This is tax dollars at work, people. Or at least it was.

So, help, seriously. This is really weird, right? Please tell me something equally weird happened to you in junior high. Tell me! There is a comments section below for that. Write something!

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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Adhesive strips: The misunderstood medical device. They are for your heart and your funny bone, people.

When I was a child, my mother insisted that we shouldn’t “waste Band-Aids.” Thirty-five years later, I’m still not really sure what this means. But I’m fairly certain that I only insisted on a Band-Aid when there was something really wrong such as a little bit of skin hanging off my elbow. Or a knee that looked liked it had been French kissed by a cheese grater. I will admit that there probably wasn’t always blood. But close enough. And now that I have two toddlers, I am a bona-fide expert in minor cuts, bruises and abrasions, as well as adhesive strips. I’m also a klutz, so I continue to experience Band-Aid incidents first hand.

But here is my point: The value of a Band-Aid as a medical device is vastly overrated. The purpose of a Band-Aid, unless you have accidentally tried to sever a digit while chopping vegetables or cutting a bagel, is to make you feel better, not to stop the bleeding or protect the injury from infection. That shit is just made up by Johnson & Johnson to sell more Band-Aids. Adhesive strips calm the nerves and stop the tears. They are useless in protecting a real injury.

So with that in mind, here is my Band-Aid philosophy. Waste away! Knock yourself out. If you bumped into the wall, get a Band-Aid. If you stubbed your toe, you might need one for each of your phalanges. If you’re having a bad day, unwrap one and stick it anywhere.

With this in mind, I’ve made a point of getting better Band-Aids. And I don’t mean better quality. No, that is irrelevant. I mean cuter. We have Barbie Band-Aids. Sponge Bob. And best of all? Bacon and eggs. There is nothing like a little fried egg, sunny-side-up, on the back of your hand to raise your spirits. Or a small strip of fried, salted pig meat on your knee to make you feel good.

But this has led to just a bit of confusion at times. When we first got the Barbie Band-Aids, I did not clarify that they were for humans and not for Barbies. And here is what happened to the first box.


Now doesn’t that make you feel way better!

(Click on the pic to enlarge)


Does the Cat in the Hat belong on the national sex offender registry?

parental advisory

Parental Advisory: Sacred imagery and childhood memories may be desecrated in this post.

I read books to my children every night before they go to bed. Or someone does. Yes. Thank you. You can hold your applause until the end of this post. So, I’m becoming intimately familiar with the Disney princess line-up, some Winnie the Pooh and a smattering of Dr. Seuss.

And I really like reading most of these books, especially because I’m learning something new almost every time we read together. For example, did you know that it’s not easy to be a princess? Because you have to work really hard delivering hand-sewn clothes (that your entourage of seamstresses make), books and baskets of food to orphanages. But mostly because it’s really hard to walk around in that huge dress and avoid hitting your enormous mass of bows and curled hair on door frames and the ceiling of the carriage.

But there is one book that I just can’t get over: The Cat in the Hat. Is it just me or is this a story about a pedophile? Let’s review.

catconvictThe book starts when a bad mother leaves her two children unattended in their house on a rainy day. Then, a large, mostly naked cat shows up and let’s himself in. He’s wearing nothing but a striped top hat and a bow tie, and he’s carrying an umbrella. Suspicious. But at least he’s not wearing a trench coat. Although given the rainy weather, this might actually make sense.

Then the Cat proceeds to balance all kinds of household items on the tip of his umbrella, including a teacup, some milk, a cake, three books, the Fish, a rake, a toy boat, a toy man and a red fan to engage the children. And they are afraid, but they say nothing and keep staring out the window. The only one who seems to have have a voice and any education about good touching and bad touching is the goldfish. But his protests are ignored. He is the lowest vertebrate in the group after all.

But here is the real kicker: Thing One and Thing Two. Small and fuzzy, they suddenly appear out of a box. Sally and the main character don’t know what to do, so they shake hands with them. And then the Things start running around the house. But the phallic symbol in the striped hat is still in charge and trying harder and harder to convince the children that they are having fun. And when their mother arrives, right after the house has been quickly put back in order and the animated genitals have left the scene, we are posed with an important question. Would you tell your mother if this happened to you?


And the answer is YES. You would tell your mother, both of them. And the police. And give the fish a job touring local schools to talk to children about speaking up when a perverted cat asks you to shake hands with his Thing.


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© Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Ann Gilbert and Seven Little Mexicans with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When picking a profession, don’t let reality interfere

My daughter wants to be a fairy when she grows up. I found this out a few weeks ago, when she was the star-of-the-week at her school and I asked her a short set of interview questions that, frankly, I wouldn’t really have thought to ask before such as: What is your favorite food? Spaghetti. And what is your favorite color? Green (good girl!).

She dressed up as a fairy for Halloween, so I should have known that she had already set her career aspirations on the magical arts. Having a background in science, and sometimes being logical, my first thought was “but fairies aren’t real.” Then I realized, that doesn’t matter, because life is all a grand illusion. Have you learned nothing from studying Buddhism?

So, I have been contemplating what it would mean to become a fairy. There are the obvious benefits. First, flying. I can definitely see the appeal. If someone is annoying you or you need to get somewhere in a hurry. Bzzzzzzzz. You’re off. And you basically have a built-in blanket. At least it seems that fairy wings are warm given how the little creatures wrap themselves up when they go to sleep on a leaf or a flower petal. And it’s a good thing too, because they are always dressed in a bathing suit with ankle boots.

But what, exactly is a fairy’s job? They seem very busy sprinkling dust that makes flowers grow and forest creatures wake up and sneeze. Productive fairies appear to be in charge of all botanic life. That is a huge job considering it’s the food and oxygen source for every living creature on the planet. Are there ocean fairies? Sprites? Without fairies, the grass and trees wouldn’t grow, seasons wouldn’t change, and there wouldn’t be someone buzzing around your head giving you thoughtful advice in a tiny, high voice. So fairies are, essentially, environmentalists.

So, I can see how she came to this conclusion of wanting to be a fairy. She does want to be just like her moms. My spouse is a botanist. And I am always busy trying to control everything on earth and buzzing around peoples’ heads. I don’t often wear a bathing suit, but I have been seen in ankle boots on occasion. So now all we need to get is a good set of wings.

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